EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL

Editorial – February 2020
5 Feb 2020

This is a special editorial. It is the first of what we hope becomes a long line of welcome messages to introduce every edition of our new magazine, UN Today.

After more than 70 years, UN Special has been replaced by UN Today, given the changing nature of our readership.

UN Today will continue a long tradition of editorial excel­lence, but at the same time will aim to provide a coverage more focused on UN staff affairs. We would like to better serve you by providing specialized content that better re­flects the reality at the Palais des Nations and at United Nations entities in Geneva.

And to start this new chapter, what could be better than to dedicate this first edition to “The Future of Work”? We all have expectations and uncertainties about what our job environment will become in the years to come and we certainly understand that we must adapt to digitalization, hyper globalization, robotics and artificial intelligence, in order to fulfil our duties.

However, the UN has an idiosyncratic culture that requires a different kind of analysis. Our leaders sometimes fail to recognize that, and attempt to “import” practices that per­tain to another universe. One example is the reduction of permanent positions and the increase of temporary con­tracts. In the private sector that seems to be the norm, as today more than 40 per cent of employees around the world are considered non-permanent workers. But the specific nature of our jobs requires other types of con­siderations. Or would you trust ultra-delicate functions to preserve world peace, disarmament and human rights – to name only a few of our roles –, to workers that have no real understanding of the ethos behind our craft and a low sense of mission when performing their duties?

The future of work offers unparalleled opportunities, but also significant challenges. The future of work is now. You are invited to enjoy this edition and to write to us with comments and contributions. UN Today is indeed YOUR magazine.

After more than 70 years, UN Special has been replaced by UN Today, given the changing nature of our readership.

* Alex Mejia is Division Director at UNITAR and was the Editor-in-Chief of UN Today (until January 2021).

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